These thoughts were brewing last week, but it felt a little premature to be writing. As things continue to unfold and there is reason to be in deep concern for people around the world, these thoughts seem more acceptable.
It occurred to me that our unbelieving friends are watching.
Maybe they’re wondering if Christians really mean all the things that are spewed daily over social media.
Maybe they’re a little sick of our words.
After all, do we really believe that “to live is Christ, and to die is gain”? Really? Will we behave differently during a pandemic because of that belief? Will we truly not worry about what we will eat or drink, knowing that we cannot add even one hour to our life from worry? (Luke 12)
As I scroll social media, I often wonder what my unbelieving friends are thinking.
While the world lays awake at night considering what might happen, do they know that Christians are also wondering if they have lived in a way that is pleasing to God? That we wonder if we’re ready to joyfully and unflinchingly meet our Maker? Do we need to tell our friends that we too think into the wee hours of the night? We think about the ways we have lived- some of those ways denied what we said we believed.
We were greedy when we should have given extravagantly. We were racist when we should have loved all people. We hunkered down at home when we should have been out loving people. We didn’t actually mean “let me know if you need anything”, instead we meant, “I sure hope you don’t need anything, so I can get on with my life.”
Maybe we didn’t even think that dying is really any sort of gain at all.
Well. Maybe it’s not too late. Maybe we were born for such a time as this. As things continue along this line, we can start to live what we say we believe.
You might wonder how it’s possible to help. Your state might have a shelter-in-place order. But I bet there are ways to help even so.
We could be the back up grocery employees. When the front lines fall sick, someone will need to step into their place. A grocery employee mentioned to me last week that many people think that grocery jobs are beneath them. They wouldn’t work grocery even if they were needed. What? Seriously? Who do we think we are? (!) (1 Corinthians 9:19-23)
Maybe we’ll be needed as back up delivery people. Maybe we will need to drive people to the hospital who can’t take themselves. We could contact the people in our lives to see if they are in need.
Let’s not ignore need. How about looking up the foster care situation in your state. It’s going to be bad. There are many people waiting to exploit the weak and vulnerable at a time like this. The children need you. This is urgent. Do we care about the children? DO WE? Okay, let’s do something. Fast.
We could pray. But not on Facebook. Shhh. Let our words be few…(Ecclesiastes 5:2)
Do we care about people who don’t know Jesus? Let’s stop making them sick in their soul with our onslaught of pithy posts, and just serve them. (1 Peter 2:13-23) With our hands and our feet. Let’s pray day and night that they might sense God’s love for them. After all, it’s his kindness that leads us to repentance. (Romans 2:4)
Maybe our friends are sick of words.
Maybe they’re ready to see our actions.
I had a sobering talk with a friend last week. I have no reason to think that this friend knows Jesus and will go to heaven if they get Coronavirus. This is absolutely horrifying to me. I think of my unbelieving friends day and night. I pray. But there has to be more I can do.
This is our moment. We can’t fumble this moment. We have to care more about souls in hell for eternity than about anything else in the entire world.
In times past, the church – “believers” have profoundly fumbled the ball. We have preached a false gospel to our friends. A gospel that values comfort, greed and prosperity. It is to our shame. It’s time to serve and give, to love and keep on loving and maybe, a little scrap of talk…if they ask us to share the reason for our hope. The reason we aren’t afraid to die.
And then…wash, rinse and repeat. Either until they’re dead or we are.
After all, to live is Christ, to die is gain. (Philippians 1:21)
“This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue, but with actions and in truth. ” -1 John 3:16-18